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Should You Declaw Your Cat? 

There are people on both sides of the declawing debate, so in order to determine whether you want your cat declawed, it is important to have the facts. During declawing, only the part of the toe that retracts over the claw, and only the part of the bone associated with the claw are removed. Cats' toes are very different from those on humans or dogs, and the part of the toe that is removed is not used by the cat for walking or touching. It is only used for scratching. Cats' claws can be powerful and used to catch prey and defend themselves. House cats generally do not need to do these things, but can easily scratch and damage carpets and furniture.

Is Trimming the Claws Enough?

Being aware of how the process is handled can help you make a decision about declawing your cat. Additionally, it is important to know that cats can get arthritis in their joints, just like people and other animals. When that happens, it is more difficult for the cat to remove the claw sheaths that need to come off as the claws grow. That can mean claws that are too long, and that grow into the pad of the foot, which can be very painful. Trimming your cats' nails is recommended if you choose not to declaw, but many cats really dislike having their nails trimmed.

Because cats often fight having their claws trimmed, and because it is not possible for everyone to bring their cats to the vet to have those trims done on a regular basis, people can end up having difficulty coexisting peacefully with their cats. That can cause problems for the cats and their owners, and is among the reasons that cats are handed over to shelters. Cats need proper care, and if they have issues that make living with them difficult, there are often things that can be done to help keep the peace in the household. Declawing may be on that list for many people.

How Does Declawing Change a Cat's Behavior?

Having a cat declawed is not going to change the behavior of the cat. The cat may be a little careful with its feet until it heals from the procedure, but that is a temporary thing. After that, they will run, jump, play, and do all the things they used to do before they were declawed. Cats that are declawed are not turned over to shelters more than cats that still have their claws, and they do not suffer from higher levels of behavioral problems. If declawing was not a safe procedure, veterinarians - who are in the business to protect animals and keep them healthy - would not choose to have that procedure as a part of their practice. If you choose to declaw your cat, you can feel confident that it is safe.